So then…she presses her pudgy little hands on either side of my face and smushes it together, bringing her little nose directly to mine, and says, “Mommy, SERIOUSLY, Mrs. Trent said it will not be appropriate for you to bring your cell phone.”
I smile at my darling little girl, clasp her two hands in mine, kiss them and tell her, “Chloe, honey, I need to take my cell phone to Back to School Night. The new babysitter is coming tonight, so she has to be able to reach us if there’s an emergency.”
She looks very worried. “But Mommy, Mrs. Trent said she’s not comfortable with parents taking phone calls while she’s giving her speech about Kindergarten. She told us ‘pacifically to tell our parents to leave your cell phones at home.”
I pull her into my lap and put my forehead on hers. “Chloe, honey, you’ve told me this 800 times in the past two weeks. I promise it’ll be fine, OK?”
Slightly mollified, she toddles off to play with her toys.
I finish opening the mail and chuckle to myself over the words our children learn so young these days. Parents and teachers tell kids:
“That’s not appropriate behavior”
“I’m not comfortable with you doing that”
“If you continue this behavior, there will be consequences”
When I was a kid, adults just said
But we parents shouldn’t say that to our kids. (Although it IS funny how many times my toddlers told me “NO!” instead of saying, “Mommy, I’m not comfortable with you serving me vegetables right now. Green beans are simply not appropriate at this time.”)
So then the new teenage babysitter arrives and I run through everything with her – while Chloe interrupts to remind me AND the babysitter not to make any calls to each other THE WHOLE NIGHT or else “Mrs. Trent will be REALLY mad.”
Good Lord, how terrifying can Mrs. Trent be?
Um, turns out — pretty terrifying.
She greets all the parents at the classroom door with the air of a strict commandant, briskly ushering us to our seats so she can start her greeting – no, speech – no, LECTURE – on time.
She is clearly captain of this ship, sternly informing us of all the rules and regulations in her classroom for the kids and the parents.
I shoot a look of mock fear at my husband David and he smiles briefly, but quickly re-focuses on Herr Trent.
I try to generate a little camaraderie amongst the other parents by feigning the “shaking in my shoes” look to them – but they quickly avert their eyes. No mutiny to be found here, folks.
Everyone is taking this Back to School Night deadly serious.
Mrs. Trent states the ground rules for field trips – and people are actually taking notes.
Just then, a phone rings.
MY phone rings!
Holy Sh*t, it’s MY phone!
The other parents look stunned. Mrs. Trent glares at me with livid disgust.
I jump up and dash out of the room, fumbling to answer the phone.
Is someone hurt? Why is the babysitter calling? What HAPPENED?! They were under strict orders NOT to call unless it was an emergency – WHAT IS THE EMERGENCY?
“Mom,” says Chloe. “Can I have a popsicle?”
Is this literally the same child who demanded for weeks that I not even BRING my cell phone to Back to School Night – and she interrupts the big speech because she WANTS A POPSICLE???
And now how am I going to go back into that classroom?
Mrs. Trent and the other parents must surely assume that the ONLY reason someone would call me tonight is because my children were gushing blood from every known orifice! Limbs had better be shooting off their bodies in all directions to warrant this call.
(And believe me, when I get a hold of Chloe, there MAY be some serious maiming and dismemberment! A POPSICLE, for God’s sake!)
But of course I totally crack up at the absurdity of it.
I shake my head to get the giggles out.
Then I walk somberly back into the classroom, with a deep sigh, my hand patting the phone, and a reassuring nod of the head to everyone to indicate that all is well – crisis averted – it WAS a life-threatening situation, but I was able to handle it over the phone because that’s how this Superhero Mommy rolls.
Then I sit down, pull out pen and paper, and stare intently at Mrs. Trent in COMPLETE AND UTTER FASCINATION to dutifully record her next pearls of wisdom.
— Darcy Perdu
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